Così — the national fast-casual lunch and catering chain — has announced that it is filing for bankruptcy, according to Nation’s Restaurant News. It has already closed 40 percent of its company-owned stores and will be putting the rest up for sale.
“This was a difficult step, but it was necessary to address our liquidity issues,” Patrick Bennett, interim CEO of Così, said in a statement. “We believe this process will allow the company to right-size its balance sheet, reduce its debt, and focus on improving the business and stabilizing the brand.”
Così was once known as a major competitor to similar chains like Panera Bread and Pret a Manger. Right before the announcement, it closed 29 of 74 company-owned locations. The company also has 31 franchisee-owned units that are unaffected by the filing.
“It’s become clear that, despite the extensive efforts by the company, no such transactions are achievable at this time, that the company cannot continue to operate in its current financial condition, and that the best alternative for the company and its creditors would be to accomplish a sale through the bankruptcy process,” Bennet said.